Brief History of the School
The USF School of Information's Library and Information Science program has been continuously accredited by the American Library Association since 1975 and was reaccredited in 2009. For more information on ALA accreditation in general go to the ALA Office of Accreditation website.
The School is administratively located in the College of Arts and Sciences and physically located in the Communication and Information Sciences Building, but there has been a long path of physical and administrative moves and modifications to get to where the School is today. Below is a brief history of the School and its various locations for classes.
The USF Library and Information Science Program had its beginnings in academic year 1961-1962 in the School Library/Audiovisual Certification Program in the University’s College of Education. (At that time all Florida universities were allowed to have such a certification program without specific state authorization.) At that time, the USF College of Education was not departmentalized and joint upper-level undergraduate programs were arranged within the curriculum areas of the College, and, if necessary, in conjunction with various discipline areas of other USF colleges. An undergraduate program, composed of two tracks, combined dual majors of Elementary Education and Library Science/Audiovisual Education. Graduates of these programs were certified as secondary teachers of English and as K-12 librarians. In 1964, the library science courses were taught by Mrs. Florence Cleary, who was the former Chairman of the Library Science Department at Wayne State University, and by a number of adjuncts. In 1965, Dr. Alice G. Smith was appointed as the first Chairman of the Library Science Program and the Library Science/Audiovisual Education program became a department within the College of Education with an authorization for 22 faculty members and offering an undergraduate program for school library certification. A master’s program in school librarianship only was first offered in 1965-1966, with 17 students enrolled.
When first organized in 1965-66, the Department was housed in a windowless former storeroom (with only one door and a single electrical outlet) on the fourth floor of the Physics Building. In the fall of 1966, the Department was moved to the new Physical Education classroom building where it enjoyed its first faculty offices, a small switchboard, and a reception area for students. By 1968, the Department had five full-time faculty members and was moved yet again to a suite of offices located on the top floor of the Business building.
In April 1970, the Florida Board of Regents approved the establishment of a comprehensive, across-the-board graduate library science program at the master’s level. In 1975, the Program was first accredited by the American Library Association and has enjoyed continuous ALA accreditation since then.
In 1981 the program underwent a successful re-accreditation by the American Library Association. The site team recommended that the program be designated as a School rather than a department – a recommendation that was implemented in 1985. At that time, the program was designed as the School of Library and Information Science and the chairperson’s title was changed to Director.
A third re-accreditation review took place in 1987 and the School was fully accredited again by the American Library Association. In September 1991, the College of Education submitted a budget reduction plan, which recommended replacing the School of Library and Information Science with a program in instructional technology. The Dean of Education noted that, in his reduction plan, that resources available to the reconfigured program would be minimal and accreditation would most likely be lost. It was the Dean’s perception that the School would have difficulty meeting recommendations by the American Library Association Committee on Accreditation and that funds would be better spent elsewhere in the College. The Faculty of the School met and initiated a campaign amongst alumni that led to the administration’s reconsideration of these decisions. The campaign was successful in that the University solicited an external review of the LIS program.
In Spring 2009, the School underwent its sixth re-accreditation and reveived accreditation until spring 2016. In Fall 2010, the School was renamed the School of Information.